“Although athletes may not be subject to the conditions that plague many Americans, because of the scope of their physical activity, they can fall victim to a number of injuries and conditions that are more common in people who are active,” said Melissa Marks, president of HES. “Whether they are treating internationally renowned athletes or weekend warriors, it is important for healthcare providers and first responders to be aware of and able to respond to injuries and conditions that are more common in athletes.”
Examples of conditions that are more common in athletes include:
Athletic heart syndrome, sometimes known as athlete's heart syndrome, is a condition that can occur after prolonged periods of exercise, in which the athlete’s heart modifies its structure. Significant amounts of exercise cause the heart to enlarge and the resting pulse rate to lower. When performing medical tests such as an electrocardiogram (ECG) on an individual with athlete’s heart syndrome, practitioners can sometimes misinterpret results as evidence of serious heart disease.
Sudden cardiac death, although not a regular occurrence among athletes, can be caused by several heart conditions that often go undetected; the most common cause among young athletes is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. According to the American Heart Association, among the more than 7 million U.S. high school athletes, one out of every 30,000 to 50,000 dies annually from out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest. According to WebMD, among NCAA athletes, about one in 44,000 players dies from sudden cardiac complications. While quick response from first responders can minimize an individual’s chance of death, the American Heart Association emphasizes the importance of preventative screenings that review family history and the athlete’s personal medical history.
Arrhythmia, a condition that causes the heart to beat abnormally, is fairly common and, in most cases, is harmless, depending on the type. However, certain arrhythmias can lead to more serious problems, such as stroke. According to a study from the American Heart Association, intense physical training may cause an individual to be more prone to developing an arrhythmia. It is important for athletes to be diligent in seeking medical attention when they notice an irregular heartbeat to ensure that there is not a more serious cause.
High blood pressure is the most common cardiovascular condition seen in athletes. High blood pressure is not harmful to competing athletes, as long as it is being controlled through medication or lifestyle changes. However, if the problem goes uncontrolled and an athlete continues to train at an intense level, high blood pressure can lead to damage of the eyes, kidneys and heart.
“Heart problems in athletes are often unpredictable, but training, including ACLS certification, prepares first responders and healthcare professionals to handle these conditions,”
Medical professionals can access informational resources related to heart disease and other healthcare issues in HES’ online research library. Resources include educational articles, as well as information, trends and news related to healthcare certifications. To learn more, visit http://www.HealthEdSolutions.com.
About Health Education Solutions
Health Education Solutions (HES) is a leading provider of continuing education solutions for healthcare professionals. HES, a subsidiary of Nelnet Inc. (NYSE: NNI), offers ACLS and PALS courses, as well advanced first aid training and other healthcare courses, developed in partnership with medical faculty at Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska.
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